Oklahoma Personal Injury FAQ
Were you injured because of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing? Was a family member injured in an accident? If so, the OKC personal injury lawyers at McGuire Law Firm want to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Call our law firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers. We are available 24/7 to take your call, or you can chat with someone online right now.
When you are hurt, you need a trusted legal advocate on your side. We have over 60 years of combined legal experience on our side.
Our law firm has recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We will fight to get you the money you deserve.
What is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case is a legal dispute between two or more parties. These cases arise from an accident or injury sustained by the victim because of another party’s mistakes, wrongdoing, or negligence.
Most personal injury cases in Oklahoma are based on tort law. Therefore, personal injury cases may be based on intentional torts, such as assault, or unintentional torts, such as negligence.
Why Should I File a Personal Injury Claim in Oklahoma?
When another person causes your injury, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, financial losses, and other damages. Filing a personal injury claim is the first step in recovering the money you deserve.
The courts cannot go back in time to stop you from being injured. The only way the judicial system can try to make you “whole” again is to require the at-fault party to compensate you with a financial settlement or award.
The cost to treat an injury can be expensive. You may also incur other expenses. However, you should not be required to bear that financial burden when another party is responsible for your accident.
Filing a personal injury claim can result in a settlement that gives you the funds you need to continue to recover and heal after an accident or other personal injury.
What Compensation Can I Recover from a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Oklahoma City, OK?
Compensation for a personal injury case includes money for your financial losses (economic damages) and your pain & suffering damages (non-economic losses). In rare cases, a victim might receive punitive damages for their personal injury case.
Examples of economic damages include the cost of:
- Medical bills for diagnosing and treating your injuries
- Personal care and in-home health care
- Rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other therapies
- Mental health treatment and counseling
- Travel to and from medical visits
- Lost wages, benefits, and other income
- Reductions in future earning potential
The value of your economic damages is the total of the actual cost of each item. Careful documentation of damages increases the chance you receive maximum value for your injury claim.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including mental anguish, physical discomfort, and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression
The value of non-economic damages is more challenging to calculate. There is not a “price tag” for someone’s pain and suffering. Our Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers understand how to maximize the value of these damages for a personal injury case.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. Non-economic and economic damages compensate the victim for losses and injuries. However, punitive damages “punish” the defendant in a personal injury case.
This type of damage award only applies in cases in which the defendant’s conduct is grossly negligent. The defendant acts with a willful, wanton disregard for the safety of other individuals.
Even though punitive damages are not compensatory, the amount is paid to the accident victim in the few cases punitive damages are awarded.
Oklahoma Personal Injury Laws
The personal injury laws in each state may vary. For example, comparative fault laws can vary significantly from state to state.
Under the theory of comparative fault, an accident victim should not recover full compensation for damages if the victim contributes to the cause of the injury.
Some states bar the accident victim from receiving any money if the victim has any fault for the cause of the accident. However, other states allow victims to recover some compensation for damages, even if the victim is 99 percent at fault.
Oklahoma is in the middle. Oklahoma Statute Ann. 23§13 states that a victim may recover damages as long as the victim is not more than 51 percent at fault for the cause of the accident. The victim’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of responsibility the victim has for the cause of the accident.
However, if the victim’s fault exceeds 51 percent, the victim is barred from recovering compensation for damages.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury laws protect the rights of individuals to demand compensation for damages from the party who caused their injury. In addition, the laws govern the process for filing claims and lawsuits. Without personal injury laws, accident victims would not have legal recourse to hold the party who caused their injury liable for their damages.
What is the Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases?
Generally, accident cases are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence. This burden of proof is not as strict as proving guilt in a criminal case beyond a shadow of a doubt.
In a personal injury case, you only need to prove that it is more likely than not, given the facts of the case, that the defendant caused your injury. In other words, the jury needs to find that there is a 51 percent chance or higher that the defendant caused the accident.
There can be some doubt in the jurors’ minds of the person’s responsibility for causing the accident or injury. However, that doubt does not require that the jury finds in favor of the defendant. As long as the jurors believe there is a greater chance that the person is at-fault, the jurors can find in favor of the plaintiff.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Case?
Proving fault in a personal injury case may be accomplished in several ways. However, the most common cause of action used in personal injury cases is negligence.
Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable prudence and care in a given situation. The level of care required in a given situation is based on what a “reasonable person” would have done given the same or similar circumstances. Jurors decide what a reasonable person would have done in a situation.
The legal elements of a negligence claim that you must prove are:
- The person or party who caused your injury owed you a duty of care, such as a building owner or driver
- The person or party who caused your injury breached the duty of care through actions or omissions
- The breach of the duty of care was a proximate and direct cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because of the injury and breach of duty
If you cannot prove that the breach of duty caused your injuries, you cannot recover compensation for a claim. Likewise, if you did not incur damages, you cannot recover compensation for damages.
Some defendants are strictly liable for damages. For instance, product manufacturers are strictly liable for damages caused by a defective product. You need to prove that the product was defective, the defect caused your injury, and you sustained damages.
Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se is a standard of proof that can be useful in cases involving circumstantial evidence or a “he said, she said” situation.
In most cases, the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff. However, if a defendant breaks a law designed to protect the public, the burden of proof could shift to the defendant. It would be presumed that the defendant was negligent because they broke a law designed to protect others.
For example, a drunk driver causes a DUI accident. The driver broke DUI laws that are designed to keep everyone on the road safe. Therefore, the drunk driver now has the burden of proving they was not responsible for causing the accident.
What Are Common Oklahoma City, OK Personal Injury Practice Areas?
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of premises liability claims filed. Other examples of premises liability claims include bed bugs, injuries at amusement parks, swimming pool accidents, and school accidents.
A property owner has a duty to provide safe premises. When a property owner fails in that duty, our personal injury lawyers fight to get the accident victim maximum compensation for injuries sustained on the property.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases McGuire Law Firm handles. Automobile accident cases include crashes involving:
Common causes of traffic accidents in Oklahoma include speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, and tailgating. Our legal team fights to hold negligent and reckless drivers accountable for their actions.
Wrongful Death Claims
Losing a family member is devastating. However, knowing that the death was avoidable can make the grief unbearable. Families who lose a loved one because of an accident or wrongdoing can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit does not bring back your family member. However, it does force the person who caused their death to account for their actions. In addition, the compensation received for a wrongful death claim can help your family with financial obligations.
What Are Some Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Cases in Oklahoma City, OK?
Some frequently asked questions about personal injury cases in Oklahoma include:
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?
If another party caused your injury, you should be able to file a personal injury claim. However, children and some mentally incapacitated adults do not have the standing to file a lawsuit. Therefore, legal guardians, parents, and court-appointed representatives need to file the lawsuits on their behalf.
How Do I Know If I Have a Claim?
The best way to know if you have a claim is to consult with an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer. Our lawyers at McGuire Law Firm provide free case reviews. We review the facts of your case and provide honest assessments of your legal options.
Our attorneys listen intently to what happened to you and your family. We care about our clients, so we provide support, guidance, and legal advice from the moment you contact our law firm.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations in Oklahoma for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. However, exceptions to the rule could shorten or lengthen the time to file a personal injury claim.
The statute of limitations is typically tolled or extended in cases involving children, delayed diagnosis, or fleeing defendants. However, in cases involving government entities, the deadline for filing claims may be less than one year.
It is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury to avoid missing deadlines to file personal injury claims.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
The factors that impact how much your personal injury claim is worth include:
- The parties involved in the case
- The severity of your injuries
- The duration of your recovery
- Whether you are partially at fault for the cause of your injuries
- The available insurance coverage
- Whether you sustained permanent disabilities
- Severe disfigurement or scarring
- Whether you need long-term personal or medical care
- If you will be able to return to work
Some factors increase the value of your claim, such as catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments. Other factors could decrease the value of an injury claim, such as allegations of comparative fault.
Our legal team analyzes each factor and works to maximize positive factors while minimizing negative factors to get you the most money possible for your claim.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The timeline for a personal injury case depends on the circumstances and facts of the case. For example, a simple personal injury claim involving a minor injury with no disputes about liability could settle within a few months after the doctor releases the person.
However, some personal injury cases can take months or years to resolve. Factors that impact the timeline of your case include:
- The time it takes for you to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)
- Whether the other party disputes liability
- The number of parties involved in the case
- The types of parties involved in the case
- Whether the insurance companies and other parties are willing to negotiate in good faith
- The need to file a personal injury lawsuit
We understand that you need your money as soon as possible. You want to put this matter behind you and get on with your life. However, we do not rush cases merely to receive our fees.
Our Oklahoma personal injury attorneys at McGuire Law Firm treat each case with the time and dedication it deserves. We work as quickly as possible to resolve your injury claim, but we do not compromise your best interest in the process.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK?
Many accident victims worry about how they will afford to hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident. They may be struggling financially because they have been out of work healing from injuries.
At McGuire Law Firm, we accept most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any upfront attorney fees when you hire our law firm. Our attorneys’ fees are paid when we recover a settlement or award for your injury claim.
Our attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of the settlement amount or jury award. Therefore, we do get paid until you get paid.
Call Our Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
Dealing with a personal injury claim can be overwhelming. However, you are not alone. You can have an entire legal team standing with you and fighting for your right to fair and just compensation.
Call our office today to schedule your free consultation with one of our Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys. We are here for you when you need trusted legal advice regarding an injury claim.